Nestled in the gently undulating rural landscape of North Norfolk anyone spying the ruinous tower of St. Mary’s Barningham Winter would be justified in thinking that there was a romantic ruin which by luck more than design has survived. This could not be further from the truth.

​The 14th century church was already by 1602 being described as long since utterly decayed. Despite this, it has been much loved and used regularly by the parish of Barningham Winter for worship. The beauty and special nature of the ruins against the landscape and Norfolk big skies have long been recognised and studiously conserved and beautified at various times in its history, most famously by Humphry Repton in the early nineteenth century who made it a romantic feature in the parkland of Barningham Hall.

The exterior of the church is of flint with limestone ashlar dressings and plain tile roofs. The tall 14th century tower survives and has recently been conserved. It houses an unusual cast steel bell, given to the church by Mrs Mott in 1873. It is installed in the original fifteenth century bell frame.

​The 14th century chancel has survived. It was described in 1779 as being thatched and it is illustrated by Repton at the same date without the fore building. There is a small priest's doorway to the centre of the chancel south wall. It has a hood mould with an ogee top surmounted by a damaged finial representing perhaps a priest's chalice.

In 1830 fore-building or narthex was added to the west end of the chancel. The building serves as the porch and houses the vestry and burial vault. It holds a gallery above which is reached by the external staircase. It is signed with the initials of John Thruston Mott and dated 1830.